Blog Post

8 Tell-Tale Signs It’s Time to Directly Manage eDiscovery with a Single Provider

April 17, 2023

eDiscovery has been around for several decades but continues to evolve as legal departments navigate the changing landscape of electronically stored data. This important litigation process was likely on the minds of respondents to the recent ACC CLO Survey, 70% of whom considered legal operations as their top strategic priority in 2023.

The headache for many in-house litigators, however, is managing the plethora of eDiscovery providers used by their outside counsels to complete this crucial step in litigation. Legal departments can benefit from engaging a single eDiscovery provider to manage their projects as their litigation needs grow and management of multiple providers becomes too inefficient for in-house litigators. Your legal team will benefit from greater control and use of their eDiscovery process, including the data and work product it creates. 

Read on for our top eight reasons for directly managing your eDiscovery process now. 

1. Your In-House Litigators Have Voiced Their Frustrations

A signal that it may be time for your legal department to find an eDiscovery provider could come from your in-house litigators. They are likely responsible for managing the litigation workflows that your legal department delegates to outside counsel, including the use of eDiscovery providers. 

They may experience frustration from the administrative burdens and the inefficiencies of tracking multiple methods of eDiscovery from firm to firm. Keeping your litigators happy can also help to reduce turnover and retain top legal talent, which can be difficult to replace.

2. You Have Limited Real-Time Insight into Your eDiscovery Data

Another issue with using indirect eDiscovery providers is the likelihood of limited access to your eDiscovery data. It may be a sign that it’s time to consolidate your eDiscovery process if you don’t have immediate access to the data you need for making litigation strategy decisions. For example, data on:  

  • Completion times, 
  • Incurred and estimated costs 
  • Status updates on which documents have been reviewed and processed. 

The delays in communication from not having access to eDiscovery data can be consequential when making tough litigation strategy decisions and collaborating to achieve the overall goals of the project. 

3. You Notice Redundant Workflows 

Reliance on panel firms that use different eDiscovery service providers likely means your legal department will spend a lot of additional time and effort on redundant workflows. You experience redundancies because you must perform similar steps for each provider but using different process maps and systems. For example:

  • Using different software programs (e.g., Relativity, Veritas, Microsoft.)
  • Recreating keyword screens 
  • Developing tags for documents
  • Setting privilege parameters 
  • Combining eDiscovery data from a variety of sources into usable reporting

4. You Aren’t Maximizing the Value of Past eDiscovery Work Product 

Depending on your company’s industry and size, some of the associated litigation may be reoccurring and include overlapping eDiscovery projects. For example, product liability claims that could take place as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL). Working with a variety of eDiscovery providers could reduce your opportunities for maximizing the value from past projects. If you are repeatedly paying for the review processing of the same eDiscovery data, it could be a sign that you could benefit from singular, direct management. 

If your current eDiscovery providers require separate reviews through their systems or entail a time-consuming and expensive process to transfer past eDiscovery work to a new matter, it may be more efficient to stick with a single provider. This could remove some of these frictions in using past eDiscovery work product on future-related matters – saving your legal department time and money. 

5. You Have Inconsistent eDiscovery Procedures

Having consistent (i.e., repeatable and predictable) eDiscovery procedures is critical, not only from a perspective of cost and efficiency but also from a defensibility angle. Using a variety of eDiscovery service providers could put your legal department’s ability to defend your company’s compliance with litigation rules and data retention/sharing laws in jeopardy.

6. You See Diminished Returns from a Lack of Investment

Bouncing around to different eDiscovery service providers can also lead to diminished returns over time. You are effectively recreating the wheel each time you engage a new provider, which means you miss out on the saved time and expense that comes from repeatedly using a provider. 

Specifically, the provider can properly invest in understanding your business and the nature of its litigation matters. This context is crucial for ensuring review teams are well-informed, which allows for greater accuracy in tagging documents and being responsive to discovery requests.

7. There’s No Opportunity for Growth in Your eDiscovery Process

A downfall to using multiple eDiscovery review platforms is that you minimize the ability to learn and grow in your process. Using multiple providers means it can be hard to derive good controls and baselines that can help you forecast eDiscovery needs on a project and identify problems in your process. For example:

  • Time needed to review and batch a set of documents to meet litigation deadlines.
  • Percentage of documents that could require further escalation to review based on data from past matters. 
  • The size of review teams (e.g., contract attorneys, review specialists) needed to complete a project. 

Directly using a single provider for your legal department’s eDiscovery gives you cleaner datasets (as opposed to using multiple providers where a variety of provider-specific factors can make it difficult to analyze the data).

8. You Have No Transparency or Control Over Your Legal Spend on eDiscovery

A final signal that it could be time to directly handle your eDiscovery needs with a single provider lies in your ability (or lack thereof) to effectively manage the legal spend side of it.  

When you engage outside counsel that indirectly hires eDiscovery providers, it can be tough to get transparency on their costs to finish a discovery project. Rather, you receive a line item on the outside counsel’s bill that provides little detail. This lack of transparency can make it tough to budget litigation costs and shop for outside counsel. 

Comprehensive eDiscovery and Litigation Support with Exigent

If your legal department can relate to any of the signs mentioned above, it may be time to consider consolidating or making a change in your eDiscovery vendor setup. Exigent’s litigation support services, including managed document review, are a scalable, seamless, and reliable solution for corporate legal departments that value an optimized approach to their discovery. 

Our team of lawyers, data experts, paralegals, and other specialists drive value for GCs using technology that allows for quality assurance and affordable pricing when it comes to your eDiscovery needs. 

Learn more about eDiscovery with Exigent. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


About Exigent:

Exigent is an Alternative Legal Services Provider (ALSP) breaking industry boundaries and raising the bar for data-driven decision-making. With a powerful combination of technology, legal expertise, and business acumen, Exigent creates expert solutions that drive better legal and business outcomes for law firms and corporations.

Exigent delivers scale, expertise, and insights that generate bigger returns for CLM – Contract Lifecycle Management, Legal Spend Management, e-Billing, Due Diligence, Document Review, eDiscovery and Litigation Support, Commercial Services, Regulatory & Compliance, Outsourced Legal Administration, and  Legal Tech Design. 

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